O God, in mystery and silence you are present in our lives, bringing new life out of despair, growth out of difficulty. We thank you that you do not leave us alone but labor to make us whole. Help us to perceive your unseen hand in the unfolding of our lives, and attend to the gentile guidance of your Spirit, that we may know the joy you give your people. Amen. (Ruth Duck)
Psalm 104:24-34 (NRSV)
O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
Yonder is the sea, great and wide, creeping things innumerable are there, living things both small and great.
There go the ships, and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.
These all look to you to give them their food in due season; when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord.
Mark 10:35-45 (NRSV)
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to [Jesus] and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Questions for Reflection
What do you understand James and John to really be asking of Jesus in this passage?
Why do the other disciples get angry at James and John’s request?
How does Jesus’ understanding of greatness, power and authority differ from our own?
Where in your life do you have influence, power, greatness, authority or position? How might the Spirit be leading you to shift these things into serving the world?
Almighty God, you created us in your own image. Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil, and to make no peace with oppression. And, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to empty it in the maintenance of justice to the glory of your holy name; through Christ our Savior. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)